11:51pm: Republicans David Perdue and Nathan Deal rolled to decisive victories Tuesday night over their Democratic opponents.
With 156 out of 159 counties reporting, Perdue held a commanding 54.60 percent to 43.44 percent lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Both were running their first political campaigns to fill the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
Deal led Carter by 54.39 to 43.21 percent, with Libertarian Andrew Hunt at 2.41 percent. Libertarian Amanda Swafford took 1.95 percent of the vote in the Senate race.
Perdue told his supporters in his victory speech as broadcast on WSB-TV, “One thing I take away from this is that you want to change the direction of our country.”
Acknowledging his wife’s support, Perdue said “Bonnie and I are committed to fight for you” not special interests in Washington.
Deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We had a message that the people of this state accepted and understood. And we think we did a good job bringing this state through very difficult times.”
Both Perdue and Deal appeared headed for runoffs until the final days of the campaign. But they solidified their support and attracted independents to comfortably exceed the 50 percent mark needed to avoid extending the races.
The Republicans also celebrated victory in the 12th congressional district, where Rick Allen defeated Democratic incumbent John Barrow. Allen held a 54.78 percent to 45.22 percent lead with 18 out of 19 counties counted.
11:13pm: Clayton voters were giving overwhelming approval Tuesday night to the referendum on the county joining MARTA.
With 68 percent of the precincts counted, the proposal to increase the county’s sales tax by 1 percent to join the MARTA system had received 73.28 percent yes votes and 26.72 percent no votes.
The tax proceeds will at first fund bus service in the county, with rail service or high-speed bus service to be added in the future.
10:59pm: Cobb County voters Tuesday night narrowly approved renewal of the county’s SPLOST to pay for roads, parks and public safety.
The renewal of the $750 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax received 29,621 yes votes, 50.96 percent, to 49.04 no votes, 49.04, according to complete but unofficial county returns.
10:50pm: Perdue, Deal win election without heading to runoffs
Republicans David Perdue in the U.S. Senate race and Nathan Deal in the governor’s contest won election Tuesday night, CNN projected.
Perdue and Deal held steady leads all night to gain victory, despite polls projecting runoffs in both elections.
With 129 out of 159 counties counted, Perdue held a 57.40 to 40.61 percent lead, with Libertarian Amanda Swafford falling behind, at 1.99 percent, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
In the governor’s race, where Deal led Carter 57.08 percent to 40.48 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt trailed with 2.44 percent.
10:36pm: Democratic candidates Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter hoped for strong showings in uncounted urban precincts Tuesday night to edge them into runoffs.
But Republican David Perdue in the U.S. Senate race against Nunn and GOP incumbent Nathan Deal in his battle against Democrat Jason Carter built formidable leads as the Libertarian Party fell short of projections.
With 129 out of 159 counties counted, Perdue held a 57.40 to 40.61 percent lead, with Libertarian Amanda Swafford falling behind, at 1.99 percent, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office. Nunn needed a strong showing in outstanding Fulton and DeKalb counties to hold Perdue under 50 percent and go to a runoff.
A similar scenario unfolded in the governor’s race, where Deal led Carter 57.08 percent to 40.48 percent. Libertarian Andrew Hunt trailed with 2.44 percent.
10:21pm: All three state constitutional amendments were headed for strong victories Tuesday night.
The proposal to cap the state income tax at 6 percent received 74.9 percent approval, with 118 out of 159 counties counted, according to the state secretary of state’s office.
The plan to boost reckless driving penalties to increase the Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund had 69.13 percent support, while the tax break for private companies operating student housing for the University System of Georgia showed a 73.23 lead in the yes column.
9:52pm: The MARTA referendum drew strong support from Clayton County voters in early returns.
The proposal to increase the county sales tax by 1 percent to fund MARTA bus service, and rapid rail or rapid bus service in the future, received the approval of 71.65 percent of the voters with eight out of 60 precincts counted, according to the county’s elections office.
9:25pm: Republican challenger Rick Allen opened a strong lead over Democratic incumbent John Barrow in the 12th congressional district as returns accumulated Tuesday night.
With 10 of 19 counties reporting, Allen led Barrow 56.54 percent to 43.46 percent, according to the Georgia secretary of state’s office. The bid to defeat the last white Democratic congressman in the South drew a barrage of outside money into the frequently redrawn district, now anchored by Augusta.
9:05pm: Public Service Commissioner Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, hoping to win outright Tuesday, built a comfortable lead shortly before 9 p.m.
With 32 counties reporting, the District 1 GOP incumbent led Democrat Daniel Blackman 60.63 percent to 35.14 percent, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s web page. Libertarian Robin Gilmer trailed with 4.23 percent.
District 4 Republican incumbent gathered 74.5 percent of the vote over Libertarian challenger John Monds.
8:45pm: Down-ballot Democratic candidates were seeking to break 40 percent of the vote with 11 counties reported, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Twitter reports from election observers said Fulton County voters stood in line for up to an hour after the polls closed. Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn on her Facebook page urged supporters to remain in line. Those in line when the polls closed at 7 p.m. were allowed to vote.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, GOP incumbent Casey Cagle shortly after 8:30 p.m. held a 64.59 percent to 35.41 percent lead over Democrat Connie Stokes. In the Secretary of State’s race, GOP incumbent Brian Kemp led Doreen Carter 64.10 to 35,90.
Republican Attorney General Sam Olens held a 63.40 to 36.6 lead over Democrat Greg Hecht. In the election for agriculture commissioner, GOP incumbent Gary Black led Chris Irvin 64.46 to 35.54, while Republican incumbent Labor Commissioner Mark Butler had 63.61 percent of the vote against Democrat Robbin Shipp.
8:o9pm: Republican candidates as expected have built a steady lead in early returns from two counties.
In the U.S. Senate race, Republican David Perdue shortly before 8 p.m. opened a 56.60 to 41.95 percent lead over Democrat Michelle Nunn. Libertarian Amanda Swafford showed 1.46 percent.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal led Democrat Jason Carter 55.93 percent to 42.25 percent, while Libertarian Andrew Hunt totaled 1.81 percent.
In the closely watched 12th District congressional race, GOP challenger Rick Allen led Democratic incumbent John Barrow 59.81 percent to 40.19 percent.
State school superintendent candidate Richard Woods, a Republican, led Democrat Valarie Wilson 58.39 to 41.61.
All results are from the GA SOS website.